Tainter's creek, is the principal stream flowing through this town. It is so called from Ezekiel Tainter, one of the early settlers of the town. This stream flows into the Kickapoo river, from the southeast quarter of section 9, town 10, range 4 west. It has its source in the town of Franklin, in Vernon county, and enters the town of Utica, on section 19, and flows in a southeasterly direction to the Kickapoo. It has several branches, the principal of which are Roger's creek and Peterson's branch. The former unites with Tainter's creek, on section 29, town 11, range 4 west, and the latter uniting on section 32, town 11, range 4 west. Laraby's branch enters from the west, at a point on section 32, and Well's branch, which is quite an important stream, flows several miles before entering Tainter's creek, which it does on the west part of section 4.
Collin's creek is a small stream which enters the Kickapoo river from section 21, town 10, range 4 west.
Sugar creek takes its rise on section 34, and flows west it into the Mississippi river.
Copper creek, another small stream, rises on section 26, town 10, range 5 west, and leaves the town from section 22.
In addition to these never failing creeks, there are several very valuable springs in various parts of the town, especially in the southern portion; these give rise to little creeks which flow south into Hall's branch, in the town of Haney.
This town was never heavily timbered, but consisted principally of oak openings. A thicker growth of the different kinds of timber, has been made in many places in the town since its settlement.
To William T. Sterling belongs the honor of effecting the first settlement in the town of Utica. He settled on forty acres, which includes the site of the residence of William McAuley, and is described as the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 25, town 10, range 5 west. The date of his coming was May 10, 1842. In July, the same year, he settled with his family on the land just described, he having erected a log house in the mean time. No other settlement had been made at that time within a radius of sixteen miles, his nearest neighbor being Aaron Hazen, who had settled in the town of Eastman.
William T. Sterling was born in Woodford Co., Ky., Jan. 29, 1808. His father, Harvey Sterling, was a native of Hagerstown, Md.; he was of English extraction. His mother was born in Holland; her father, Jacob Harper, on coming to this country, settled at what was afterward called Harper's Ferry, in Virginia. He removed to Kentucky in 1791. William T. Sterling's mother, Elizabeth Harper, was one of the three girls who volunteered to run the gauntlet to get water, during the siege, in the face of 600 Indians and 400 French, in the French and Indian War, near the "Dark and Bloody Ground." The subject of this sketch was reared in Kentucky, and when nineteen years of age (in 1827), he, in company with a party of thirteen, including Gov. Dodge, went to the mining regions of Galena, Ill., where Mr. Sterling remained till 1838. During that year he was elected to a clerkship in the Legislature known as the Burlington session. The same year he was appointed superintendent of public property and also librarian. In 1849 he was elected to the Legislature from Crawford and Chippewa counties and re-elected from the same counties. He became a resident of the town of Utica, Crawford county, in 1842. At the time he lived at Madison there were but two families living there --- the Bird and Peck families. In 1840 Mr. Sterling took the census of Dane county, and he found there were but 315 persons within the county. He was married to Eliza Messersmith, who was born in Ohio in 1820, and moved to Iowa Co., Wis., in 1827. She died Nov. 15, 1880, the mother of eleven children --- George H., Josephine, Napoleon B., Emmet, Francis, Clay, Emma, Laura, John Rusk, Alice and Frank. The two latter are deceased. In 1884 Mr. Sterling, who was then seventy-six years old, still retained his memory of the past to a remarkable degree. But few men living in Wisconsin date their coming so early as he. He has been a close observer of passing events throughout his long life; and few men, either from observation or reading, possess a more complete knowledge of the history of the State of Wisconsin than does William T. Sterling.
Ezekiel Tainter was the next pioneer to penetrate the wilds of this town, and here make for himself a home. He made a claim on section 5, in town 10, of range 4 west, in the spring of 1847. During the summer of 1847, settlements were made by James B. Gay and John Mitchell, on section 9, town 10, range 4 west. Ezekiel Tainter was a native of Vermont. He went to Prairie du Chien in 1838, where he kept a public house, and also furnished the garrison with its meat for a time. He lived in this town about a dozen years, and then removed to Menomonee, and there spent the remainder of his days with his son Andrew. Mr. Tainter was a man of great energy, and somewhat eccentric in his manner. He was a Methodist, and one of the most zealous workers of that sect; he was extremely pious and devotional, and withal was a man who left an impression on the history of his town that will long survive.
In 1848 Sylvester Bacon and John Collins located on section 20, town 10, range 4 west, near where Gay's mill afterward stood.
Later, the same year, a young man named McBee, made a claim a mile and half north of the Tainter claim, but only remained a few weeks. Of the pioneers above mentioned, Mr. Sterling and Mr. Collins alone remained in 1883, as the only representatives of the early settlers.
Among others who came in during 1849 was William Clark, brother-in-law of John Collins. He came from Indiana, leaving his family there till three or four years later. He entered no land, but passed the winter in the pine regions above, and summers was engaged in cutting cord wood and other kinds of manual labor. He was a man of coarse organization, and subject to intoxication. He died about 1867.
Truman H. Wilder was one of the pioneers of the town of Utica. He was born in New York, in 1814. He removed to Ohio when a boy, with his parents, and thence to Illinois, when a young man. In 1848 he came to Vernon Co., Wis., with his family. He lived one year at Liberty Pole. The next year (1849), he came to Crawford county, and entered forty acres of land on section 22, town 11, range 5 west, on which he located with his family. This farm he afterwards increased to 100 acres. He was a carpenter by trade; for twenty-five years justice of the peace of this town, and notary public twenty years. He died Oct. 11, 1870. His widow, Nancy (Carver) Wilder still owns and occupies the homestead. She was born in Knox Co., Ohio, in 1821. She has had eleven children, eight of whom were living in 1883.
During the years 1850, 1851, 1852 and 1853, but few came in for settlement. But in 1854 the tide of emigration set in and the town was rapidly settled up.
Joseph P. Tower and John Woodburn came in the fall of 1853, and settled near the present site of Towerville.
In 1854 came J. H. Tower, Sr., and his two sons, Thomas W. and J. H. Tower, Jr., together with their families. The Tower family, were all well known and influential citizens, of whom all but one had left the town prior to 1883.
John S. Rogers lives on section 29, where he settled in 1854, on eighty acres of government land. He also took up a homestead which he still owns. He is a native of Pennsylvania, but came here from Dane Co., Wis. His father also came here in 1854 and located the place afterward owned by Peter N. Peterson, where he died in 1865.
D. S. Clement settled on section 25, town 10, range 5 west, in 1865. He came to this county in 1855, entering land in the town of Freeman in 1856 and remained there till his removal to the town of Utica.
David M. Twining lives on section 28, town 10, range 4 west. He came to this town in 1854, and the following year, entered land on section 15, town 10, range 4 west, which he still owns. He is a native of Broome Co., N. Y., and is a gunsmith by trade. He served about three years in the War of the Rebellion, in the 31st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.
Other settlers of 1854, were Edwin Thompson, Henry E. Bennett and Cyrus Bennett.
The earliest Norwegian settler of the town of Utica, was Nels Peterson, who in the spring of 1855, located on section 22, town 11, of range 4 west. A little later in the season of the same year in which Mr. Peterson settled (1855), Andrew Oleson settled on section 27, town 11, range 4 west.
H. Nephome settled that year, also, on section 34, same town and range. Mr. Nephome was born in Norway, in 1816, came to Dane county, this State, in 1854. Mr. and Mrs. Nephome have seven children --- Eric, Peter, Christopher, Ann, Herman, Bertie and Maria. The three oldest were born in Norway.
The first of the Irish settlement, in the town of Utica, was made by Michael Dolan, came to Rising Sun, April 19, 1855.
John Burns dates his settlement from 1854, also. He came from Vernon county too. His brother Andrew, came at the same time, but subsequently moved to Liberty Pole.
James Wheelock came about that date, from Milwaukee, and still resides where he first settled.
Henry C. Newcomb of Mt. Sterling, is the son of P. S. Newcomb, who came to Crawford county in October, 1856. He was born in Wyoming Co., N. Y., in 1812. He came to this county, from Waukesha, this State, and purchased of Eliza Sterling the forty acres on which the village of Mt. Sterling now stands. He moved from this county to Kansas, where he died. Henry C., was born in Wyoming Co., N. Y., in 1838, and came west with his father; served three years in the army, during the Civil War, as a member of the 31st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He married Susan Moon, a daughter of King Moon, who came to this county in 1858. Mr. Newcomb is a dealer in furs, and also a manufacturer of gloves and mittens.
The first couple married in the town of Utica were John Mitchell and Maria Flick. The exact date of their marriage is unknown. Another early marriage was that of John Collins, who married Rebecca Clock. The next couple married were Margin Mitchell and Sarah Tainter. These weddings all occurred before 1850.
The first birth was that of Napoleon B., son of William T. and Eliza Sterling, born April 16, 1843.
The first death was that of Louisa Sterling, daughter of William T. and Eliza Sterling, who died Sept. 15, 1844. She was buried on section 24, town 10, range 5.
The first election held in the town of Utica, after the town had received its present boundaries, was held at the house of William McAuley, April 3, 1855. The following officers were elected:
John H. Tower, chairman; Abel Copper, William McAuley, supervisors; Joseph B. Tower, clerk; J. H. Brightman, collector and treasurer; Cyrus Peck, superintendent of schools; Clayton Rogers, John E. Howell, T. H. Wilder, T. Y. Skinner, justices of the peace; A. B. Spencer, John S. Rogers, Wilmot Marsden, constables; John Woodburn, assessor; J. D. Gay, sealer of weights and measures.
Officers of 1883: Peter N. Peterson, chairman; Ole H. Helgerson, N. A. Tallman, supervisors; George W. Davis, clerk; George B. Mitchell, treasurer; Samson Turner, assessor; L. D. Layton, J. A. Curran, A. Sears, C. R. Rounds, justices of the peace.
The first school in the town was taught by Abigail Crillis, in a slab shed, on section 14, town 10, range 5 west, in the summer of 1856.
The next school was taught by Elizabeth McAuley, daughter of William McAuley, at her father's house; this was taught the summer succeeding the one held in the slab shed. Some claim it was in 1856, others are of the opinion that it was a year later.
In 1883 the town comprised the following school districts: Seven full districts and five joint districts.
In district No. 1 the school house is situated on section 29. The number of pupils on enrollment list, ninety-one.
District No. 3, at this date, had a scholarship of twenty-six. The district is provided with a good frame building on section 9, town 10, range 4 west.
District No. 4 is provided with a school house situated on section 2, town 10, range 5 west. Number of pupils, eighty-six.
District No. 5 includes the village of Mt. Sterling. The school house is on section 26. Number of pupils, seventy-nine.
District No. 6 has an average attendance of forty-seven. The school house in this district is located on section 1, town 10, range 5 west.
In district No. 7 the school house stands on section 11, town 10, range 5 west. Number of pupils, fifty-four.
District No. 14 is located on section 22, town 11, range 4 west. The number of pupils in this district is fifty-eight.
Joint district No. 5 is provided with a house in the town of Freeman. The number of pupils from the town of Utica is twenty-three.
Joint district No. 11 is made up of territory from Clayton and Utica. Number of pupils from the latter named town, thirty-six.
Joint district No. 13 is supplied with a poor school house on section 22, town 11, range 4 west. There are forty-seven pupils belonging to this district from the town of Utica.
Joint district No. 14, comprising parts of Freeman and Utica, has its school building in the town of Freeman. Number of pupils from Utica, one.
Joint district No. 15 is a part of the towns of Seneca and Utica. Its building is located in the former named. Number of pupils from Utica, twenty-four.
Besides the numerous Church organizations mentioned in connection with the village histories of the town of Utica, there are two outside of the villages --- the Norwegian Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The first Norwegian religious services in this town were held at the residences of the early settlers in 1857. The first were conducted by Rev. H. A. Stubb, pastor of Coon Prairie Church, Vernon county. The first church building erected by this denomination was a log structure, built on section 22, town 11, range 4 west, in 1859. This building was used for church purposes until the present church in the town of Franklin, Vernon Co., was built, where the congregation then attended. In 1871 the number of families belonging to the Lutheran Church having so increased, that an additional church building was required, and the distance to the church in the town of Franklin being too great for many families, it was arranged to hold religious service in the Congregational church at Mt. Sterling. In 1875 the present church building was erected. It is located on section 11, town 10, range 5 west. The congregation attending this church is a large one, comprising most of the families in this town and those from other towns who find it more convenient to attend here. The cost of the church building was about $4,000.
The first Roman Catholic services in the town of Utica were conducted by the Rev. L. Galthier, of Prairie du Chien, at the house of Patrick Finnigan, on section 22, town 11, range 5 west, in April, 1855. Between thirty and forty families comprise the congregation. Rev. Galthier held services occasionally for a number of years. A German priest whose name is not remembered, also came occasionally. Another priest, Father Seife, held services a few times. In the spring of 1857, a log church was erected, and the first pastor mentioned was the first to conduct services in this church. He was an earnest, energetic priest, and was well known throughout this section of country. The first pastor who was settled over the people here was the Rev. O'Connor, who was pastor for about four years. He was followed by Rev. Patrick Murphy, who remained two or three years. Father Montague, who came about 1879, was pastor during the building of the present church edifice, which was built the following year. This is a frame building on section 22, town 10, range 5 west. Cost, about $25,000. Then came Rev. Michael Heiss who was succeeded by the Rev. Constantine De Druste.
The next priest was Father B. Degoey. Then came Father Collins from Seneca, who held services about six months, followed by Rev. John Collins. Then came Rev. J. J. Burns and Rev. J. B. A. Conroy, who was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Gabriel Momo.
There are three burying grounds in the town of Utica. One of these is situated on section 25, on the farm of William McAuley. Another is located at Towerville, and the third, on sections 35 and 36, town 10, range 5 west, on the farms of Messrs. Stearns and Willet. The land constituting the first mentioned was deeded by Mr. McAuley to the school district in which he lived. The first burials there were a child of Mr. McAuley's named Allen Hess, and a German whose name is unknown, who was looking up a location; he was taken sick at the house of Mr. McAuley and there died. These interments both occurred in 1856.
The cemetery at Towerville was first used by the Tower family and afterward used by the public in general. The first burials here date to about the same time as those in the cemetery just mentioned. These two cemeteries in 1884 were being used but little, except by those who already had friends buried there.
The principal burying place of the town was first used in 1870. This ground was deeded by Messrs. Stearns and Willet, to the Utica and Seneca Cemetery Association. The first burials within these grounds were removals from the cemetery on section 25. In addition to these places of burial, there were Church cemeteries in connection with both the Catholic and Lutheran Churches; also several private burial places.
This village takes its name from the mound so called in honor of the first settler, Mr. Sterling. This mound is situated just east of and adjacent to the place, which is located on section 26, town 10, range 5 west. The land upon which the village is platted, was entered by William T. Sterling, in the name of his wife, Eliza Sterling, in 1855. The land was sold by its original owner to Truman Folsom, in 1856; it was again transferred to P. S. Newcomb, and from him to Cyrus Bennett, by whom the village was laid out in 1858. The only building on the land contained in the plat, at the time it was laid out, was a shanty owned and occupied by Mr. Newcomb and his family. Mr. Folsom, already mentioned, erected the first building in which he lived, and also kept a small stock of goods, and consequently must be given a place as the first merchant of the place.
A man named Swift was the earliest blacksmith of the village.
In the autumn of 1868, A. E. Mills erected a wagon and blacksmith shop. He employed George Shop and A. B. Williams as wagon makers.
The first shoemaker was A. C. B. Vaughan, who was postmaster of the place in 1883.
The postoffice at Mt. Sterling was established in 1851. William T. Sterling was appointed first postmaster. He was succeeded by the following in their proper order: C. C. Bennett, Truman Folsom, James H. Jewell, Dr. Frederick Corfe, Aaron Cook and A. C. B. Vaughan, who received his appointment in 1879, and is still (1884) in office.
There were three Church organizations within the village in 1884 --- Methodist Episcopal, Congregational and Universalist. The first two mentioned have buildings and maintain regular services.
The first services of the Congregational Church held at Mt. Sterling were conducted by the Rev. John Sherwin in 1863. Mr. Sherwin was at that time State agent of the Congregational Church in Wisconsin. He at that time organized a society, which was called the First Congregational Church at Mt. Sterling.
Those who united with the society at that time were: Mrs. Mary Radcliffe, Joel Robb, his wife, Mrs. Jane Robb, John M. Gay, Mrs. Sarah Gay, Priscilla Gay, Isaac Rounds, Mrs. Lucy A. Rounds, Thomas Allen and his wife, Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Lydia Sherwood.
First officers were: John M. Gay and Joel Bobb, deacons; John M. Gay, clerk.
The first pastor was the Rev. L. D. Radcliffe. He preached for the society about three years. He was a man well liked and of fair ability. He is now living in Pennsylvania. He was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Peter Valentine.
The church edifice was erected in 1863. It is a frame building, and cost about $2,000. Since its completion, $400 have been expended in improvements. The society at present is not a large one, many members having died and others removed. Marcus Nickerson is the present deacon, the pastor officiating as clerk. Present members, fifteen.
Rev. Peter Valentine has been pastor of the Church since Nov. 1, 1868. He is a native of Lancashire, England, where he was born in 1810. He began preaching when twenty-seven years of age as an Independent Methodist preacher, which he continued till 1842, when he came to the United States. Preached in Pennsylvania several years before coming to this State. Was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1864, in the town of Wheatland, Vernon county, by the Rev. John Sherwin. His wife, Alice Pollit, was also a native of England. They have two children, a son and a daughter.
Probably the first Methodist service held in the town of Utica, was conducted by the Rev. C. A. Wirech, in 1854, at the house of Ezekiel Tainter, but whether there was a class formed in the town as early as that date, is not certain, though it is highly probable that such was the case, as there were several Methodist families living in the town at that time.
The circuit which included this town at the time, consisted of a large area of territory, and services were held infrequently for a number of years. The second preacher on the circuit was the Rev. John Knibbs, in 1856.
The following is furnished by Rev. John Knibbs:
"I was sent in September, 1856, to the mission which included the town of Utica; I found the country new and rough, and the people few and far between. I can hardly remember where I preached first, but I think it was at the double log tavern of William McAuley, who I believe still resides at Mt. Sterling. If I remember aright, my first class was formed at Bro. Ezekiel Tainter's or "Uncle Zeke," as he was generally known; whether a class was then formerly organized or whether, like Topsy, it "grew" I cannot now remember. We had several good Methodist members in that region, who came principally from Ohio.
"Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur, Mr. and Mrs. Tallman, Mr. Roger's family, and two brothers named Peck. There were several others whose names I do not remember. The minister appointed by the conference to succeed me, was brother T. C. Clendenning, now of Rock River Conference, but I have long since lost sight of our Church in that region of the county.
"You ask for some account of my experience while traveling the circuit in the stormy winter of 1856-7. Well, it was a very chilling experience to say the least. I began my mission work in September, and had traversed the county quite thoroughly before winter set in. I had ten preaching places, besides several classes to visit. On the 22d of December, 1856, I started from Prairie du Chien, and preached at Bridgeport in the afternoon of that day. In the evening I went to Stukeville. During the night a hard snow storm came on and I was shut in with no entertainment for myself or horse. So in the morning I started for the house of J. F. Haskins, in Haney valley, but the storm increased and a crust an inch thick formed on the snow. My horse's legs were cut and bleeding and he refused to go further, so I left him and undertook to find a house on foot; but the intense cold and darkness confused me and I wandered about during five days and four nights, at the end of which time I was nearly exhausted. On the fifth day I found Eagle Points saw-mill, Mr. Ralph Smith, proprietor. There I was received and most kindly cared for. On the eighth day, mortification having begun, my left foot was amputated, and I was taken the same day to Prairie du Chien and kindly cared for by Mr. Alonzo Pelton, Drs. Benedict and Mason, and many others. Dr. Benedict afterward said that if my system had contained a particle of alchohol, I would not have survived the first night of my exposure. Many at that time lost their lives who were exposed but one night to the intense cold. This part of my experience I have ever cherished as a valuable temperance lesson."
The Rev. T. C. Clendenning, who succeeded Rev. John Knibbs, was assisted on the circuit by the Rev. Isaac E. Springer.
The church building at Mt. Sterling, a frame structure, was the first Methodist church in the town. As late as 1867 Mount Sterling was in Batavia circuit. In 1868 it belonged to Seneca and Brookville circuit. There is no record of this church to be found extending back further than 1870, at which time Rev. McKay was the pastor, who removed in 1872, and was succeeded by Rev. O. Burnett, who removed in 1874; then came Rev. Thomas Crouch, who removed in 1875 and was succeeded by Rev. Robert Smith, who remained two years. E. F. Bunce was appointed in 1877 but did not accept the appointment, when L. L. Wooley was appointed as supply, and Isaac C. F. Nuzem, preacher in charge, who remained till 1878 and was succeeded by William McMillan who remained one year. Rev. John Avery was appointed in 1880 and served two years. Rev. Edward McGinley was appointed in 1882, and was succeeded by Rev. James Barnett, in 1883.
In February, 1881, Rev. I. Eberhart delivered a course of lectures at Mt. Sterling on universalism. Services were held here occasionally thereafter, but no organization was effected till the spring of 1883, when a society was formed and the organization called the First Universalist Church of Mount Sterling. The society contains about thirty members.
The Rev. S. N. Cushett has preached for the society, and the Rev. A. Vedder is the present pastor.
In 1883 there were two secret societies in the village --- a Good Templars' Lodge, whose charter dates Feb. 27, 1878, and the Patrons of Husbandry, which was organized July 8, 1874.
Truman Folsom sold the first goods in the village, and was soon succeeded by J. H. Jewell, who remained in business a number of years. He kept a general stock and built him up a fine trade from the surrounding country. Prior to 1865 the firm was known as Jewell & Case, and during that year they were succeeded by Cook & McAuley, who in turn were followed by Cook & Haggerty. In 1868 this firm was changed to J. A. Haggerty, and three years later, to Haggerty & Co. The next change was in 1880, when N. Grant became proprietor, and a year later the firm was styled N. Grant & Co. In 1882 the firm became J. Smethurst.
Brightman & Stearns commenced a general merchandising business in 1866, and closed out about three years later. This firm was succeeded in 1881 by Bennett & Haggerty, who were still in trade in 1884.
A drug business was first established at Mt. Sterling in 1860, by Dr. Fred Corfe and E. Packard. During the Rebellion, these gentlemen both served in the Union army, and their business discontinued till the return of Dr. Corfe, when another drug house was opened under the firm name of Corfe & Sherwood; the firm later became Corfe & Packard, the latter being a brother of the first mentioned Packard. It was again Corfe & Sherwood; then Corfe alone, who was succeeded in 1881 by W. A. Sherwood, who is still (1884) in business.
The pioneer hotel of the village was kept by Lorenzo B. Layton, who began keeping what is known as the Sherwood House. He afterward built the Layton House, which he operated till his death, which occurred in 1883.
The business of the village in December, 1883, was represented as follows: Haggerty & Bennett, general merchants; Smethurst & Case, general merchants; A. E. Mills, blacksmith; A. E. Spencer, wagon-maker; A. Sears, hotel; Sherwood & Son, Sherwood House; A. C. B. Vaughan, postmaster; Mrs. C. G. Green, milliner; W. A. Sherwood, drugs; C. B. Porter, physician.
This little hamlet is situated on the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 4. The original owners of the plat were J. H. Tower, Jr., and T. W. Tower. It was laid out by these gentlemen and their father, J. H. Tower, in July, 1854; the plat was surveyed by William McAuley. A grist mill and two dwelling houses were erected that year by the proprietors of the village. In 1855 a store building was erected by J. H. Tower, Jr., who started the first store in the place; a blacksmith and cooper shop were started the same year by G. J. Freeman. The grist mill was built on Tainter's creek, which flows hard by the village and furnishes a good supply of water for any ordinary mill power. This mill was owned and operated by J. H. Tower and his sons for about three years. It then passed into the hands of other parties, and finally became the property of Matthew Stunkard, now deceased. There lingers in and around this moss covered mill much of historic interest, as it was the first mill in Crawford county, outside of Prairie du Chien.
A saw-mill was built in 1858 by J. P. Tower, about fifty rods below the grist mill. He owned and operated the mill till 1865, when it was abandoned. At this date, 1884, Mr. Tower lives in Dickinson Co., Iowa.
A woolen factory was built by Edward Davis in 1859. The size of the factory was 30x50 feet, two stories in height. The machinery consisted of a custom carding machine, one broad and two narrow looms, and set of manufacturing cards. Mr. Davis operated this mill for two or three years, when it was burned. He began re-building soon after the fire, and before its completion he formed a partnership with Thomas W. Tower. The factory was finally completed; it contained a set of custom cards, set of manufacturing cards, and two jacks. The mill also had 480 spindles, two broad and three narrow looms. Mr. Davis sold his interest, before its completion, to George M. Wilber, and two years later Mr. Tower became sole proprietor, and for several years did a thriving business. He finally leased, or rather sold conditionally, to Clark Lawton; but the flames again consumed it in 1873. It was re-built by David K. Lester. In 1883 it was owned and worked by George C. Davis, who did custom work, such as carding and manufacturing yarns.
A postoffice was established at Towerville in 1856. John H. Tower was the first postmaster commissioned. He was succeeded by his brother, Thomas W. Tower. Archibald Sears came next, and was succeeded in 1883 by Mrs. A. E. Helgerson.
For about twenty years Towerville was considered a place of much importance. Among the prominent men of the village in its palmy days were J. H. and T. W. Tower. The Tower family came here from Underhill, Vt., and were indeed men of much prominence in Crawford county at an early day. The father, J. H. Tower, died in 1856. In 1883 J. H., Jr., was a resident of the town of Freeman, and Thomas W. lived in Sumner, Bremer Co., Iowa, whither he removed in 1879. At the present date (1884) the business of the place is represented as follows:
Thomas Helgerson, general store; George C. Davis, woolen mill; Mrs. Katherine Stunkard, grist mill; Amanda Helgerson, postmistress.
In 1860 a mill dam was built on Tainter's creek, on section 9, in town 10, range 4 west, and the frame for a saw-mill got out; but high water washed away the dam, and other losses were sustained, and the project thereby abandoned. The parties thus interested were: John Mitchell, D. R. Wilkinson, John E. Howell, J. P. Mitchell and William Restler. A store was opened by the company composed of these gentlemen; it was operated by William Restler for a time. Samuel Hutchins also run a store here for some time. This place took its name from John Mitchell, one of the above named company. But owing to the abandonment of the mill project, business was altogether discontinued.
About a half mile above, on the same stream --- Tainter's creek --- is the grist mill of George M. Wilbur, which was built by him in 1876. It is a frame structure 26x36 feet; has two run of stone, with an ample water power to drive all necessary machinery.
The first mill built in the town of Utica was a saw-mill; it was located on the Kickapoo river, on section 28, town 10, range 4 west. It was erected by James B. Gay about 1848. It was owned and operated by Mr. Gay till 1859; on the death of Mr. Gay in that year, it went into the possession of his legal heirs, and was run till about 1878, after which it was removed. This mill manufactured lumber from pine logs rafted down the Kickapoo river from the vast pine region above; and also cut into lumber the various kinds of hard timber found in the vicinity. This point on the Kickapoo river has long been an important one for milling purposes. The excellent water power found here attracted the attention of the pioneers, and it was promptly utilized by Mr. Gay, who was one of the earliest lumbermen of this county.
In 1865 the present flouring mill at this point was erected by J. M. Gay, a brother of James B. Gay, and George M. Wilbur. Mr. Wilbur owned a half interest in the mill for about two years, when he sold out to Mr. Only, a son-in-law of Mr. Gay. The mill building is a frame structure 30x40 feet, containing tow run of stone, with six feet fall, and an abundant supply of water at all seasons of the year. In 1883 the building was raised from a story and a half in height to three stories. The mill is now owned and operated by Thomas W. Gay and S. H. and J. A. Robb.
This mill has always done an extensive business, and is noted for the excellence of its work. The present proprietors are energetic business men. The business of the mill is annually increasing. Improvements are in contemplation and will soon be made, which will enlarge the capacity of the mill, and give increased facilities for doing excellent work.
The term, "Gay's Mill," is used to designate quite a settlement at this point. Mr. J. Steffy has a store here, and keeps a general stock of goods. There are also several societies and a Church organization with headquarters at this place. There is an organization of the Congregational Church here dating from September, 1871. Rev. P. Valentine has officiated as pastor since its organization. The following are the names of those who united to form the society: N. A. Tallman and wife, C. R. Rounds and wife, T. W. Gay and wife, Mrs. F. G. Robb, Mrs. M. Hartwell, Mrs. S. E. Angier and Fannie D. Gay. The first officers were: C. R. Round, secretary; N. A. Tallman and T. W. Gay, deacons. The society at present consists of thirteen members.
Another organization is a Post of the G. A. R., known as O. D. Chapman Post, No. 80. It was organized April 25, 1883. The applicants for a charter were: N. A. Tallman, Edward Gray, George R. Rounds, Theodore Harding, Phillip H. Moon, A. H. Frank, J. S. Dudley, Cyrus W. Shafer, C. R. Young, G. R. Twining, John Lowe, J. G. Richardson, Darius Welch, R. W. Abbey, Edwin Thompson, Charles R. Rounds, O. P. Rounds and O. D. Chapman. The officers of the lodge are: Edward Thompson, P. C.; Edward Gray, S. V. C.; N. Tallman, J. V. C.; C. R. Rounds, A. D. J.; G. R. Twining, Q. M.; A. B. Purrington, surgeon; John Lowe, chaplain; A. H. Turk, O. D.; G. R. Rounds, O. G.; Darius Welch, S. M.; John G. Richardson, Q. S.; Cyrus W. Shafer, C. B. Quite a number have joined since the organization, and the post is in a flourishing condition. The time of meeting is the first and third Wednesday in each month, at two P. M.
A Good Templars' lodge was organized a number of years since, with the following charter members: F. G. Robb, T. W. Gay, P. R. Gay, Rissie Hartwell, M. D. Hartwell, M. A. Tallman, S. E. Angier, Callie Hartwell, C. R. Rounds, E. C. Dunham, Rosanna Dunham, O. P. Samson, N. A. Tallman, J. J. Collins, T. W. Samson, Belle Davis, E. F. Stearns, A. B. Samson, J. A. Neaville, W. H. Winn and S. P. Hartwell. The charter was granted July 15, 1871. The lodge was organized by J. A. Neaville, of Grant county. First officers: J. A. Neaville, W. C. T.; R. R. Gay, W. V. T.; T. W. Gay, W. C.; E. F. Stearns, W. S. E. C.; S. E. Angier, W. F. S.; Rissie Hartwell, W. T. R. E. A.; N. Samson, W. M.; Belle Davis, W. B. M.; Callie Hartwell, W. I. G.; W. J. Collins, W. O. G.; Mrs. M. Hartwell, W. R. H. S.; F. G. Robb, W. L. H. S.; C. R. Rounds, P. W. C. T. This is one of the most prosperous Good Templars' lodges in the county. A commendable interest has always been manifested in the lodge.
Officers serving in 1883: M. H. Robb, W. C. T.; Rose B. Rounds, W. V. T.; Fannie Gay, P. W. C. T.; C. R. Rounds, W. C.; Jennie Robb, W. R. S.; Charles A. Hoffman, W. A. S.; Cora Gay, W. F. S.; Fred Twining, W. T.; Joe Gay, W. N.; Carrie Robb, W. D. M.; Bert S. Girdler, W. G.; Mahlon Twining, W. S.; Abbie Lewis W. R. H. S.; Etta Shafer, W. L. H. S. There is also an organization of The Patrons of Husbandry, at this point, for which a charter was granted in August, 1874.
This village is situated on section 22 town 11, range 5 west. The original owner of the site was T. H. Wilder. The place was never platted, but lots were sold by Mr. Wilder, beginning about 1867, when men named Sink and McCullouch purchased lots, and erected thereon residences and a blacksmith shop. The village was named from the following incident: When Mr. Wilder first located there, it had been raining for two weeks, and the sun had not made its appearance during all that time; but the next day, the sun made its appearance, and from this the locality was named "Rising Sun." In 1868, a residence was built by John Demming, who used the basement as a saloon. Robert Herrick erected the first store, and sold therein the first goods. Herrick did an extensive business till 1871, when he failed, well off, as it is generally believed, and removed to St. Helena, Neb. Thomas Jerman was in business here about one year; he is now in the drug business at Veroqua.
James Curran conducted a store from 1872 till 1875, with N. McKie, of Viroqua, when he became a partner in the business. It was run in the firm name of McKie & Co., till 1877, then N. McKie became sole proprietor, who sold to Rogers in 1877, present proprietor.
John Demming and Guilord conducted business about one year in the firm name of Demming & Guilord, who were succeeded by M. A. Demming, who is still in business.
Michael Dolan engaged in business in 1878, and is still in business.
Truman H. Wilder kept the first hotel.
John Demming kept hotel for a number of years.
James Curran is the present hotel man.
Ove Larson, present blacksmith, came in 1877; has done a prosperous business.
The shoemaker of the place was Bent E. Eide; he came in 1874, left in 1878, and is now in Dakota.
The postoffice, Rising Sun, was established in the spring of 1852 or 1853, and T. H. Wilder was appointed postmaster. The following are the postmasters who have succeeded Wilder, in proper order: Neal Mines, Robert Herrick, Thomas Jerman, John O'Connor, James Curran, Henry Rogers who was succeeded by James Curran, who was appointed the second time. Mr. Curran resigned Jan. 1, 1884, and Henry E. Rogers was appointed.
One of the prominent early settlers of Utica town is William McAuley, whose settlement dates from 1854. Mr. McAuley resides on section 25, town 10, range 5 west of the fourth principal meridian. He was born in 1809, in Wythe Co., Va. When twenty-two years of age he removed with his parents, Daniel and Margaret McAuley, to Indiana, living near Indianapolis for nearly four years. In 1835 he moved to Iowa (now Grant) county, in what is now Wisconsin, but which then belonged to Michigan Territory. He entered that year 240 acres of land near the site of the village of Lancaster. In 1836 he worked a farm for A. T. Boyce, which farm included the present site of Lancaster, where, the following winter, the county seat was located. The three following years Mr. McAuley resided with his parents on the land which he had entered upon coming to Grant county, after which he sold out and returned to Indiana. Returning soon after to Wisconsin, he purchased again his old farm in Grant county, resided there until 1854, when, as before stated, he came to Crawford county. He entered several hundred acres of land in this county, at the same time purchasing of William T. Sterling forty acres of land on which to build a home. His father died in Grant county, his mother in Crawford county. Mr. McAuley married Jane Megee, a native of Kentucky. They have had thirteen children, seven of whom are living --- Rhoda A., wife of George Shoup; Margaret E., wife of Col. C. M. Butt, of Viroqua; Martha, widow of Henry McDougal; Sarah, wife of John A. Haggerty, of Mt. Sterling; Rosalia R., wife of Thomas W. Tower, an early settler of this town, but now a resident of Bremer Co., Iowa; John and Auley. Mr. McAuley is one of the most prominent and successful farmers and stock-raisers in the county. He gives much attention to the improvement of cattle by the introduction of thoroughbred stock. He now owns about 700 acres of land. Mr. McAuley has given considerable attention to surveying, being a practical surveyor. One son, William, died Dec. 26, 1883, aged twenty-eight years.
H. A. Sherwood was born July 5, 1834, in Saratoga Co., N. Y. He came to Crawford county with his father, Isaac Sherwood, in 1854. In 1855 he entered 200 acres on section 26, town 10, range 5 west, where he now owns a farm of 340 acres. The fall of the same year, 1855, Mr. Sherwood began to make improvements, breaking seven acres and beginning the erection of a house, which was completed the next spring. He continued to occupy this house until 1875, when he erected his present residence. It is one of the finest farm residences in the county, costing $2,500. Mr. Sherwood married Lydia C., daughter of Rev. Henry Maynard, an early settler of Columbia Co., Wis., now a resident of Lodi. Mrs. Sherwood was born at Bloomington, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood have had six children, four of whom are living --- Isaac H., Orrin A., Edgar E. and Herbert L.
Aaron C. B. Vaughan, postmaster at Mt. Sterling, settled in Crawford Co., Wis., in 1854, locating on Copper creek, in what is now Freeman town. He resided there on a farm three years, then came to Mt. Sterling, and engaged in the boot and shoe business, in which he continued, except during his absence in the army, until 1879, at which time he was appointed postmaster. Mr. Vaughan was born in 1821, in Clinton Co., N. Y. He moved from New York to Rock Co., Wis., from there to Iowa, and from Iowa to Copper creek, now in the town of Freeman. He married Catharine Johnson, a native of New York State. Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan have two children living --- Daniel and Content. Mr. Vaughan enlisted in 1862, in the 31st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, serving until the close of the war. He took part in the siege of Atlanta, was with Gen. Sherman on his march to the sea, and participated in the battles of Averysburg and Bentonville. His son, Anselm E., accompanied his father into the army, being a member of the same company. He died in the hospital at Columbus, Ky. He was a young man highly respected for his upright and generous character, paying strict attention to his duties as a soldier, and a friend to soldiers and his country. He was married a few days before enlistment to Cornelia Brockway, an estimable young lady, who was left to mourn the loss of a true and faithful husband.
Peter N. Peterson was born in Norway in 1842. His father, Nels Peterson, was the oldest Norwegian settler in Utica town, having come to this town in 1855. He is still living on section 22, town 11, range 4 west. Mr. Peterson enlisted Oct. 2, 1861, in the 12th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, serving till August, 1865. He was in active service all the time, participating in all the campaigns and battles in which his regiment was engaged. His first location of land was on section 22, town 11, range 4 west. In 1873 he located on section 33, in the same town and range, where he still live. Mr. Peterson is now serving his fourth term as chairman of the town board, and is at present chairman of the county board of supervisors. Mrs. Peterson is also a native of Norway. They have seven children, three sons and four daughters.
Edwin Thomson is a native of Sussex, England, born July 6, 1830. He came to the United States with his father in 1842, and settled in Madison Co., N. Y. In June 1845, the family settled in Columbus, Columbia Co., Wis., locating on land which the father continued to occupy until his death in 1880. In 1854 Edwin Thomson entered land on section 25, town 10 north, of range 5 west, where he still resides. He was married Jan. 13, 1852, to Alma A. Folsom, a native of Vermont. In June, 1855, with his family and his wife's father and mother, Henry S. Bennett and Cyrus C. Bennett and their families, he removed to Utica town and made a permanent settlement near Mt. Sterling. He enlisted on the 9th of August, 1862, in company A, 31st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, for three years; joined the 20th army corps at Marietta, Ga.; was at the siege of Atlanta, and accompanied the corps on that famous march to the sea. He participated in several serious engagements, was wounded at the battle of Benton Hill, March 19, 1865, and was discharged on the 27th day of September, 1865, at Madison, Wis. Some two years after his return from the war, his wife died. He then married Mrs. Catharine Bennett, the widowed wife of H. S. Bennett, who enlisted in November, 1864, in company D, 18th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and died at Jeffersonville, Ind., July 14, 1865, aged thirty-five years. She was a native of Ireland. Her parents died in her native country, and she came with the other children of the family to the United States in 1847. In the spring of 1854 she married H. S. Bennett, and they removed, with three other families, to Crawford Co., Wis. Mrs. Thomson had three children by her first husband.
Thomas Adams was born in county Armagh, in the north of Ireland, in 1820. His parents were respectively of Scotch and English descent. He came to the United States in 1851, residing for a time in New Hampshire. He went from there to Vermont, but returned to New Hampshire in a short time, where he purchased some land. In 1856 Mr. Adams came to Crawford Co., Wis. In 1866 he settled on section 14, town 10, range 5 west, where he now resides. Mr. Adams is a thoroughly practical farmer, and has one of the best farms in the town. It contains 240 acres, 121 of which he purchased of Joseph E. McCrillis, and fifty-one of Joseph R. McCrillis, son of Joseph E. The remainder he purchased of various parties. But a small portion of his land had been improved when he came here. He now has a fine residence, built in 1881, also a good barn and an excellent well. His well is 245 feet deep, producing an abundant supply of excellent water. He is engaged in general farming and stock raising.
Oliver A. Caswell is a native of Connecticut, born in 1826. When five years of age he removed with his father, Oliver A. Caswell, Sr., to Ohio. He was there reared to agricultural pursuits, and when a young man learned the carpenter trade. He married Sophronia Thompson, born in 1830. Mr. and Mrs. Caswell have three children, one son and two daughters --- E. A., Emerette E., wife of Ambrose Miller; Estella, wife of Rev. L. N. Wooley, now pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Viola, Vernon county. Mr. Caswell came to Crawford county in December, 1856, settling on his present farm, located on section 24, town 10, range 5 west. He purchased his farm of Charles B. Thompson. When Mr. Caswell bought it no improvements had been made, the farm consisting entirely of oak openings. He formerly had 440 acres of land, but, having given 120 acres to his son, he now has but 320 acres. Mr. Caswell is a democrat in politics. He was elected to the House in the Legislative session of 1871, his opponent being George Sweizer. He was deputy sheriff of Crawford county for twelve years, his first appointment being in 1859. He has also served as chairman of the town board.
Leonard Hammerly was born Aug. 4, 1827, in Switzerland, where he grew to manhood. In 1855 he came to the United States with his family. His father, Joseph Hammerly, died in Switzerland. In 1856 Mr. Hammerly came to this county from Green county, where he had resided a short time. He first located in Seneca town, this county, where he lived until 1864. He has owned a part of his present farm in Utica town since 1856. He has 154 acres of land and has made all the improvements himself. Mrs. Hammerly is a native of Switzerland. They have seven children --- Ellen, Fred, Kate, Ann, Joseph, Leonard and Adam, all of whom were born in Crawford county. Mr. Hammerly is a successful farmer and a man well known throughout the county. He has been a democrat most of his life, but has latterly favored the principles of the greenback party. He has held several township offices.
David K. Lester, of Towerville, has been a resident of Crawford county since Oct. 16, 1856. In the spring of 1857, he located on 120 acres of government land, on section 33, town 11, range 4 west. He improved about eighty acres of that farm, then sold it to John Olson, who failed to pay for the same, and the farm reverted to Mr. Lester; he subsequently sold it to Ole Samuelson, and it is now owned by Ole Halverson. Mr. Lester was one of the early blacksmiths at Towerville, having engaged at that trade with Samuel Kirkpatrick, in 1856-7. He engaged in farming till 1864, when he embarked in the mercantile business with Thomas Tower, in which he continued for three years. He was then town clerk for four years; went to Johnstown in 1869 and in company with Charles and David Mullikin engaged in the building of water wheel patterns; returned to Towerville in 1870, and built the store house now occupied by Thomas Helgerson, which he afterward sold to Archibald Sears. Mr. Lester has been twice married. His first wife was Maria M. Peck, a native of Pennsylvania; who died in 1869. In the fall of 1872, he went to Pennsylvania and was there married to Rachel M. Bigelow, who died in August, 1877. On his return from the east in 1873, he purchased the burned site of the woolen factory at Towerville, and erected a temporary building for a carding machine. He built the present factory in 1874, which he run till 1879, then sold the same to the present owner, George W. Davis. Mr. Lester has four children; two sons and two daughters by first marriage, and a daughter by his second wife. Mr. Lester was born in Pennsylvania in 1811, where he lived till 1856. When a young man he learned the trade of a blacksmith. His father, Andrew Lester, was a native of Connecticut.
Archibald Sears, owner and proprietor of the Mount Sterling House, at Mt. Sterling, has been a resident of Crawford county since 1856, at which time he settled at Towerville. Previous to the war he was engaged in farming. He enlisted, Aug. 10, 1861, in the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry (Eagle regiment), serving until September, 1865. He participated in all the battles and campaigns in which the gallant 8th was engaged. The record of this regiment shows twenty-four battles, and a distance traveled of 14,814 miles, over 4,000 of which was traveled on foot. At the close of the war Mr. Sears returned to Towerville. In the fall of 1883 he purchased the Mount Sterling Hotel property, and is now operating this hotel. He was born in Wayne Co., Penn., in 1828. Mr. Sears married Mary E. Sherwood, a native of Pennsylvania. They have five children --- Irene Jane, Amanda E., Kate P., Genevie E. and Earnest E.
Nelson A. Tallman was born Dec. 14, 1826, in Susquehanna Co., Penn. His father, William Tallman, was also a native of Pennsylvania, and there died. Nelson, when ten years of age, accompanied his step-father, H. Borst, to Broome Co., N. Y., and from thence to Michigan three years later. Abba Borst, his mother, died when he was but fourteen years of age. He came from Michigan to the territory of Wisconsin in 1846. He was married June 17, 1849, in Dodge Co., Wis., to Mary A., daughter of Solomon Hartwell, who removed from Saratoga Co., N. Y., in 1844, with his family, and settled in Waukesha Co., Wis. Two members of the family, a son and daughter, died within three months after locating there. On July 1, 1856, Mr. Tallman, wife, niece and a nephew of Mrs. Tallman, whom they had taken to raise, came to Crawford county, settling on section 21, town 10 north, of range 4 west, where he still lives. He entered forty acres of his farm, and bought forty acres of Thomas W. Tower and William McAuley, making all of the improvement himself. Mr. Tallman worked at the carpenter and joiner trade for James (better known as "Uncle Jimmy") Gay, getting his flour and meat of him. Times were very hard, and the nearest market was thirty-two miles distant --- Prairie du Chien --- flour $5 per cwt., and pork twenty cents per pound. Mrs. Tallman taught the three first terms of school in that place; the first term taught on subscription, getting $8 per month and boarding herself. She took her pay in anything that could be spared, even to sauerkraut or a grindstone. They were so anxious to have a school district organized, and their children at school, that Mrs. Tallman walked about half a mile with only a foot path through the snow, which was very deep and the weather severely cold, teaching in a vacated log house, with a fireplace of "ye olden time," where the face would be scorched and the back frozen at the same time.
In October, 1856, the first religious service held in the place was conducted by the Rev. John Knibbs, who held regular appointments once in four weeks, at Mr. Tallman's house, the latter and his wife being the only professors of religion in the Gay's Mill valley. On one occasion, Rev. Knibbs, while coming to his appointment, lost his way, and was out five days and four nights without food or drink, resulting in the loss of one foot.
In 1857 Mr. James Gay put the first bridge across the Kickapoo river, Mr. Tallman doing the work. In 1857 he was elected justice of the peace, and held the office until his resignation, in August 1862, during which time he performed several marriage ceremonies, once walking seven miles and received $1 as a marriage fee, seventy-five cents of which he had to pay for recording the same. On Aug. 13, 1862, he enlisted in the 31st regiment, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, serving until the close of the war. He was in active service during the entire term of his enlistment, being in all the battles and campaigns in which his regiment participated, his health being greatly impaired by this rough service. Mrs. Tallman lost two brothers in the war --- J. D. and Stephen K. Hartwell (the latter dying in a Confederate prison), and the nephew they had taken to live with them, at the age of seventeen, gave his life for his country, having resided with them eleven years. He was buried at Cape Girardeau, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Tallman having no children of their own, have adopted a daughter --- Clara S., and opened their doors for six homeless ones. In 1860 Mrs. Tallman's mother, Clarissa Hartwell, came to live with them, remaining until her death, June 26, 1864, in the seventy-seventh year of her age. Mr. Tallman erected his present residence in 1866.
Rev. George M. Wilbur was born at Rising Sun, Ohio Co., Ind., May 1, 1818. He received such education as the common schools of the country afforded, and was reared to the occupation of a farmer. In the fall of 1855 he came to Crawford Co., Wis., entering the farm now owned by E. F. Howe, in Utica town, locating with his family in the spring of 1856. He had forty-five acres of this farm improved when he sold to Mr. Howe in 1864. He afterward located at Gay's Mill. He was also employed in the woolen mill for several years, at Towerville. In 1876 he settled in Johnstown, this town. Mr. Wilber married Charlotte Buchana, also a native of Ohio Co., Ind. Mr. and Mrs. Wilber have three children --- Mary A., Theron R. and Charlotte M. Mr. Wilber was one of the pioneer preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Crawford county. The first sermon he preached was at the house of William McAuley in 1856. He was then a local preacher, traveling and preaching at various points on the circuit. He was for several years employed by the presiding elder to supply the places of circuit preachers who had left their charges. Mr. Wilbur continued to preach quite regularly until coming to Crawford county, when he became proprietor of the mill at Johnstown.
Mahlon G. Mitchell was born in Sparta town, Livingston Co., N. Y., in 1833. His father Benjamin Mitchell, died in New York State. Mr. Mitchell is a nephew of John and Marjoram Mitchell, who were among the first to locate in this town. He settled in 1866 on section 24, town 10, range 5 west, on a farm which had been entered by O. D. Stearns in 1854. His farm contains 160 acres of land, on which Mr. Mitchell has made the most of the improvements. Mr. Stearns, however, had made a beginning before it passed out of his hands. Mr. Mitchell is an excellent farmer, and his farm is in fine condition. His buildings are among the best to be found in the town. He married Lucy Sampson, a sister of O. D. Stearns. She was born near Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Mitchell is a brother-in-law of M. J. Steffy, of Utica town. They came to Crawford county together in 1857. Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell have two children --- Roscoe S. and Howard P. John P. Mitchell, a brother of Mahlon G., came to this town in 1856. He was born in 1831, and is now living at Johnstown, this town. His farm was entered by his uncles --- John and Marjoram Mitchell.
J. Steffy, merchant at Gay's Mill, was born in Dansville, Livingston Co., N. Y., in February, 1831, where he grew to manhood. His father, Isaac Steffy, was a native of Pennsylvania. Mr. Steffy married Mary Mitchell, Sept. 7, 1857, also a native of Livingston Co., N. Y. He came to Crawford Co., Wis., Dec. 8, 1857, locating on a farm in Clayton town. In 1866 he came to Utica town, purchasing a farm on section 16, town 10, range 4 west, where he still lives. He has been interested in the store at Gay's Mill since February, 1880, at which time it was established under the firm name of Steffy & Co. Since October, 1882, Mr. Steffy has been alone.
George W. Davis, owner of the woolen factory at Towerville, and the clerk of Utica town, is the son of Edward Davis, who came to Towerville in 1856, purchasing a half interest in the grist mill of Thomas W. Tower. He afterward erected a woolen mill on Tainter creek, at Towerville, which was burned down and rebuilt by Mr. Davis. George W. Davis was born in Ohio. He married Elizabeth, a daughter of David K. Lester. They have two children --- Olla B. and Goldie. Mr. Davis is serving his fourth term as town clerk.
Ole Halverson is one of the prominent and well known early settlers of Utica town. He resides on section 33, town 11, range 4 west, where he settled in 1858. Mr. Halverson is a native of Norway, born Dec. 11, 1822. He came to the United States in 1857, and entered government land as his first forty acres. He has been quite successful, and is now one of the largest farmers of Utica town, having 570 acres of land, 200 of which is improved, all by himself. Mr. Halverson married Betsy Larson in 1856, also a native of Norway. They have seven children --- Louis O., born Dec. 26, 1856; John O., April 17, 1859; Elena, July 28, 1865; Henry Ellert A., Sept. 17, 1868; Anna Marie, Feb. 22, 1871; Olay, Jan. 6, 1873, and Albert O., Feb. 26, 1876. Mr. Halverson represents the Hekla Insurance Company. He is also agent for the American Red Star and Anchor line of steamers.
T. W. Gay, one of the owners and proprietors of what is known as Gay's Mill, is the son of J. M. Gay, who came here in 1858 and purchased the saw-mill property, then here. In 1865, with George M. Wilber, he erected a grist mill. He died at Prairie du Chien in February, 1877. T. W. Gay was born in Princeton, Ill., in 1835. He has resided here since 1859, coming to this county from Iowa. He enlisted in August, 1862, in company A, 31st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, serving until the close of the war. He participated in all the important battles and campaigns in which the 31st regiment was engaged, including the siege of Atlanta and Sherman's march to the sea. Mr. Gay married Priscilla Robb, daughter of Joel Robb. Mr. and Mrs. Gay have three children --- Fannie, Cora and Joel. Mr. Gay's brothers-in-law, James A. and Samuel H. Robb, are associated with him in the ownership of the mill and adjacent property, including a fine stock farm.
Charles R. Rounds was born in Clarksfield, Huron Co., Ohio, but his parents returned to Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., where they had formerly resided, when Charles was but an infant. He was reared in New York State. In 1859 he removed to Bell Centre, Clayton town, Crawford Co., Wis., and in 1861 located on a farm. His father came to Clayton town in 1870, where he resided until his death, in 1879. Mr. Rounds enlisted, in 1864, in the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, company L, serving until the close of the war. He married Marianna Twining. They have three children --- Mary A., Arthur H. and Rose B. Mr. Rounds' farm now contains 215 acres of land, situated on sections 28, 29 and 33, town 10, range 4, west.
Darius W. Briggs was born Jan. 28, 1820, in Jefferson Co., N. Y. When fifteen years of age he removed with his father to Ohio, settling near Cleveland. In December, 1863, he came to Crawford Co., Wis., purchasing a farm of the State of Wisconsin, located on section 24, town 10, range 5 west, where he still lives. Though not a pioneer of this county, Mr. Briggs traveled quite extensively through the territory in 1845. He traveled at that time through Racine, Janesville, Beloit, Fort Atkinson, Beaver Dam, Columbus, Broadhead, Milton, Aztalau, Watertown, Waterloo, Lake Mills, Whitewater, Milwaukee and Waukesha. The above named cities would at that time compare in size with Mt. Sterling of to-day. He made a settlement at Elba, Dodge county, but returned to Ohio in 1849. Mrs. Briggs was a native of Olmsted town, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Briggs have two sons --- Edward P. and Ernest G. Mr. Briggs was a member of the assembly in the State Legislature for the session of 1871, being elected by the republican party, to which organization he belonged. He has also been assessor and clerk of Utica town. He is a carpenter by trade, an occupation which he has followed for many years. His farm now contains 122 acres of land.
A. E. Mills, one of the prominent business men of Mt. Sterling, has resided in this town since the fall of 1868, at which time he erected a wagon and blacksmith shop. Mr. Mills built the house in which Mrs. Hutchins now lives, and, by giving employment to a number of men in his wagon-making and blacksmith business, was instrumental in the building of several other residences. He conducted both branches of business for a number of years, doing quite an extensive business, giving employment to six or eight men. In 1879 Mr. Mills sold his wagon shop to A. E. Spencer, who now conducts that branch of the business. Mr. Mills was born in Wayne Co., N. Y. When five years of age he went with his parents to Michigan. He learned the blacksmith trade and resided in Michigan until 1865, when he, with his family, moved to this county, locating in Freeman town, where he purchased and improved a farm. He came from there to Mt. Sterling in 1868. Mr. Mills was married to Augusta Gregory, a native of Michigan. Her father, H. S. Gregory, came with Mr. Mills to Crawford county, with whom he lived until his death, in 1879. Mr. and Mrs. Mills have nine children, seven of whom were born in Crawford county. Mr. Mills' father, Ira Mills, was a native of New York State. He came here in 1873, and resided with his son until his death in 1878. His mother, Alzina (Randall) Mills, was born in Wayne Co., N. Y. She died in Michigan in 1847.
J. A. Haggerty was born in Blairstown, N. J., in 1841, being raised to agricultural pursuits. In April, 1866, he came to Mt. Sterling, engaging at once in the mercantile business, with Mr. Cook, under the firm name of Cook & Haggerty, succeeding the firm of Cook & McAuley. He continued in this business until 1875, when he devoted himself exclusively to the real estate business until 1881. Mr. Haggerty has also dealt considerably in live stock. His excellent business qualities, combined with a remarkable amount of energy, have made him a successful business man. He now owns twenty improved farms in Crawford county, averaging 100 acres per farm. He also owns valuable property in the village. He has a fine creamery in process of erection near the village, which will have a capacity of 3,000 pounds of butter per day. This, with a creamery of much less capacity, now being erected by J. S. Rogers, of this town, will be the first erected in Crawford county. Mr. Haggerty married Sarah C., daughter of William McAuley. They have three children --- Bessie E. J., born in October, 1871; Willie A., born in July, 1875, Clarence R., born in July, 1877.
Samson Turner was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, in 1836. When thirteen years of age he came with his mother to the United States, his father having previously died in England. He settled at St. Louis in 1849, where his mother died of cholera. After the death of his mother, he wandered from place to place, reaching La Crosse, Wis., in the fall of 1850, then a village of three houses. He passed the following winter on Root river, in southern Minnesota; came to Prairie du Chien in February, 1851, and worked for William Mahan. His first location was on government land, on the line of Crawford and Vernon counties, where he resided two years. Mr. Turner was married in 1860, and lived in Vernon county eight years; served in the War of the rebellion; was mustered out June 12, 1866; moved to the town of Utica April 1, 1868, locating on section 20, town 11, range 4. Mr. Turner married Louisa E. Bundy, a native of New York. They have six children --- Ralph, Joseph, Sarah, Frederick, Alice and William.
James A. Curran, postmaster at Rising Sun, is a native of New York city, born April 9, 1836. When two or three years of age he removed with his parents to St. Louis, Mo., and in 1849 to Monroe Co., Ill. In 1863 he engaged in the mercantile business in Freedom, Ill. He afterwards returned to St. Louis, and in 1869 came to Wisconsin. Coming directly to Vernon county, he located at Viroqua, engaging for three years as clerk for N. McKie. He then came to Rising Sun, Crawford county, taking charge of a branch house for Mr. N. McKie, of Viroqua. Mr. Curran was appointed postmaster Oct. 11, 1872, and served for some years, then resigned. He was again appointed in 1881. He was town clerk for the years 1881 and 1882, and treasurer from 1877 to 1879. Mr. Curran married Margaret McCoey, a native of New York State.
Henry C. Lester was born in Wayne Co., Penn., in 1847. He came to Crawford Co., Wis., in 1874. In 1876 he purchased a farm of Charles Chauncy and M. Robinson, located on section 8, town 10, north of range 4 west, where he now resides. His farm contains eighty acres. Mr. Lester was married in Pennsylvania to Anna D. Southard. Mr. Lester's father and brother, Orrin, also reside in this town. His father has a farm of 115 acres on section 9, town 10 north, of range 4 west, and Orrin Lester has 160 acres on section 17.
Thomas Helgerson was born in 1849, in Norway, being the son of Ole Helgerson. In 1869 he came to Utica town, Crawford Co., Wis., engaging in general mercantile business at Towerville. Mr. Helgerson had had considerable experience in business before coming here, having been a clerk for a mercantile house for a number of years. He married at Mt. Sterling Amanda Sears, daughter of Archibald Sears. Mr. and Mrs. Helgerson have three children --- Harry, Archie and an infant.
Rev. Gabriel Momo, pastor of St. James (Catholic) Church, in Utica town, is a native of Italy. He received his ecclesiastical education in Turin, province of Piedmont, being ordained priest in 1867. In January, 1875, he came to the United States. He was appointed pastor of the Church at Genoa, in Vernon county, in January, 1876, and in June, 1882, was transferred to his present charge. Father Momo is a highly cultivated gentleman, generous and kind to all. His friends are not confined to his own Church, but he is greatly esteemed by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance.
John Smethurst, of the firm of John Smethurst & Co., merchants, who succeeded Nicholas Grant in the spring of 1882, is the son of Daniel L. Smethurst, who settled in Seneca town in June, 1855, a sketch of whom will be found in the history of that town. Mr. Smethurst enlisted, in 1862, in the 31st regiment, Wisconsin Volunteers, serving until the close of the war. His brother, Joseph, was a member of the same company. Another brother, James, was a member of the 43d regiment. Mr. Smethurst married Helen, daughter of N. Miller.